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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

FROM  BAHR  TO  DEHMEL                          IO7

by the ebb of the tide on the coast of Holstein. His love of soldier-
ing comes out in poem after poem; typical are Kleine ballade or Die
Musik kommt, which quaintly pictures the passage through a village
street of a regiment of soldiers with the band going on before and
all the girls gazing at the haughty captain and the rosy-faced lieu-
tenants. There is a deeper note in certain lyrics which show the
sadder side of soldiering (Tod in Ahren and above all Werweiss n>o?}.
Improvisator and academically unschooled as he is, he is a master
of rhymecraft and of certain stanza forms, certainly of the Si^ilianei
nothing indeed would represent him better here (for crass realism,
humour and irony, hinted meaning, and perfect construction)
than such a Si^iliane^ which has, moreover, the fascination of a
Dutch genre-painting:

DIE INSEL DER GLUCKLICHEN

Das IrLdngelampchen qualmt im war men Stalk,
In dem behaglicb sich %wei Kuhefublen.
Der Hahtty die Hennen, urn den Spross die Kralley
Trdumen vom wunderbaren Dungerwuhhn.
Der ]unge pfeift auf einer Hosenscbnalle
Dem Bruderchen ein 'Lied mit Zartgefuhlen.
Und Knaben, Ktibe, Huhner lassen alle
Getrost den Strom der Welt voruberspillen.

In the volumes of verse that followed1 there is no development
except that the form grows both more supple and mannered.

In the historical panorama of German verse Liliencron stands
out as one of the most significant poets. Intellectually his range is
low; that is, he was no thinker. But he makes history by his style.
This marks an advance or a new direction in two main aspects.
Firstly, he flouts poetic diction. He accomplishes the reform - an
abandonment of traditional artificiality in favour of a language
new-coined to pass current in a new, less idealistic life - for which
Conradi and his merry men had been clamouring; but whereas
they had despite their theories carried on with the old style of
language Liliencron renews the language of verse without pre-
meditation by the mere trick of abolishing such devices as the
Dichter-e (spieletfot spielt\ and above all by admitting as poetically

1 Gedichte (1889); Der Haideganger und andere Gedichte (1890); Neue Gedichte
(1891). These collections are reprinted in Kampf tmd Spiek (1897), Kampfe und
Ziele (1897), Nebel und Sonne (1900), Eunte Eeute (1903).